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20-Year-Old Nigerian-Born Marvin Park Gets First Real Madrid Start

Getafe’s Spanish defender Marc Cucurella (L) challenges Real Madrid’s midfielder Marvin Park during the Spanish league football match between Real Madrid CF and Getafe CF at the Alfredo di Stefano stadium in Valdebebas, on the outskirts of Madrid on February 9, 2021. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

Real Madrid’s Marvin Olawale Akinlabi Park – who is of Nigerian origin – was on Tuesday handed his first senior start for the club as the Los Blancos defeated Getafe 2-0 in a Spanish La Liga match.

Coach Zinedine Zidane named the 20-year-old born to a Nigerian father and a South Korean mother in the lineup as the multiple European champions moved within five points of league leaders, Atletico Madrid.

The fleet-footed right-winger had before now impressed for the team’s youth sides and did not disappoint in his first start for the club.

He made his debut for the Spanish giants in their 2020/21 league opener against Real Sociedad, coming on as a 70th-minute substitute.

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“An attacking-minded midfielder who is a danger when he joins the attack, his ability in one-on-one situations also makes him a threat,” Real Madrid wrote about the youngster who joined them in 2016 after a spell with English side, Tranmere Rovers.

“He took his first steps in the game in his native Balearic Islands and possesses a very direct style, which fully exploits his pace and power. He also has a fine ability with both feet.”

The midfielder caught the former French legend’s eyes in a friendly against Getafe in September 2020.

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He was, however, away from the first team before making a return to the senior side for last weekend’s game against Huesca. The youngster had replaced Ferland Mendy, playing in the right-wing in his second senior match for the Madrid-based club.

Marvin played a key role in the club’s UEFA Youth League, bagging two assists in the semi-finals and one more in the final last season.

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